Unions slam Qatar’s new welfare standards as ‘inadequate’

18 February 2014

The organising committee for the Qatar 2022 World Cup has said it will penalise contractors who violate the welfare of its construction workers after it was revealed that dozens of migrant workers died last summer.

Workers’ Welfare Standards set by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee state that all contractors and sub-contractors engaged in the delivery of projects must comply with principles set out in the charter and relevant Qatari laws.

"The committee reserves the right to penalise contractors who are non-compliant, or in extreme cases, terminate its contract with a company that is continually in breach of them," the organising committee said in a statement.

But the standards have been criticised for not dealing with the sponsorship system for migrant workers that a UN official said in November was a source of labour abuse.

UK labour union GMB described the charter as "totally inadequate" and wants the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights to insist that if Qatar does not change its laws that deny workers their rights then FIFA must show the nation the red card for holding the games.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, had described the labour rights situation in Qatar as unacceptable (Wikimedia Commons)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has previously described the labour rights situation in Qatar as unacceptable.

General secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow, said: "Qatar’s new World Cup worker welfare standards do not deliver fundamental rights for workers and merely reinforce the discredited kafala system of employer control over workers.

"Forced labour continues in Qatar today with no workers’ rights. No migrant worker can be protected by any safety standard unless they have the right to collectively speak out about wages and conditions at work."

The Supreme Committee said that, to ensure the system was being followed, progress reports would be made public and that the labour ministry has increased the number of trained labour inspectors by 30% over the past six months to monitor contractors’ compliance.

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News